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Bahrain is investing a total of around US$1,3 billion into its power and water transmission infrastructure over the coming three years, the head of the country’s Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) has told Utilities Middle East.
EWA has committed 320 million dinar (around $850 million) to power transmission, primarily on cabling and substations, said Dr Abdulmajeed Ali Alawadhi, EWA’s chief executive officer.
The authority will invest another 180 million dinar on the water transmission infrastructure, handing out contracts for pumping stations, storage tanks and chemical treatment facilities.
While the contracts for the electricity projects have been awarded, some of the water tenders are still outstanding.
“For electricity, all contracts have been awarded. For water, a few of them have been awarded, and the rest will be awarded in the coming 3-4 months maximum. They are in the tender stage, a lot of them are in the evaluation stage,” said Alawadhi.
The expansion of the transmission infrastructure is in tandem with the increase in power generation EWA is working towards, which is necessitated by the growth of Bahrain’s population.
As a consequence, demand for power and water has not abated during the economic crisis from 2007, but increased, with peak demand at record levels in 2010.
“Power used to have a six percent increase [in peak demand], but in the past five years, before and after the recession, it stayed as high as 10 percent. In 2010, it was 11 percent,” said Alawadhi.
“In Bahrain, we used to have a 3.5 percent increase [in water consumption] from 1999 to 2004, it was almost the same growth every year in that period. It then jumped suddenly to six percent from 2004 until the present,” he added.
EWA have turned to public private partnerships to increase power generation capacity, which now stands at 3,150MW, according to the CEO.
Once the Al Dur independent water and power project (IWPP) becomes fully operational in June 2011, it will add another 834MW, meaning that Bahrain’s total capacity will almost 4,000MW, comfortably above the current peak demand of is 1,708MW.